Arequipa has the privilege of offering an architectural landscape as unique as it is impressive. The construction of its mansions, monuments, temples and, in general, the vast majority of buildings that surround the historic center, have as their main protagonist the ashlar: an albino stone of volcanic origin whose special shine has given this city the distinction of ‘White City’.
Currently, there is a tourist circuit called the Ruta del Sillar or The Sillar Route in Arequipa where you will witness the entire extraction process and detailed carving that is carried out with this mineral.
The tour is accompanied by visits to magnificent natural settings whose geological formation is also due to this precious rock. An experience that, without a doubt, you cannot miss.
The Ashlar Quarries
With an extension of 2 km in length, the Sillar Route in Arequipa is one of the greatest attractions of the region. The tour includes visits to the Añashuayco, Cortadores and Culebrillas quarries, located on the outskirts of the city. The tour includes consecutive walks of up to 40 minutes in length.
In these places, the visitor will be amazed by the large number of sculptures, shields, utensils and many other pieces worked in ashlar.
One of the most visited points is the Sillar Rosado, a canyon that, thanks to the particular combination of sand, rock, ashlar and the effects of sunlight, reflects a captivating pink color in its structures.
Due to its narrow terrain, the experience that is lived when crossing it makes one feel like the character Indiana Jones.
The walk is complemented by a demonstration of cutting and carving of ashlar blocks by local sculptors.
Another visit is to the Culebrillas Quarry.
Here, travelers will take a walk through the interior of the ravine and see figures engraved on cliffs over 30 meters high belonging to the Wari culture. At the end of the tour, it is possible to acquire the precious artistic works made from ashlar.
How to Get to Arequipa?
The cost of a land ticket from Lima to Arequipa is 80 soles and the trip lasts approximately 16 hours.
We recommend you to wear comfortable clothes to carry out the walks with tranquility and without difficulties. Most of the trails are rocky and steep, so you should wear non-slip shoes.
Did You Know?
Sillar stone is a sediment of volcanic origin made up of ashes and lapilli, which are small fragments of lava expelled during volcanic eruptions. The use of this material dates back to pre-Inca times and endured over time thanks to its lightness, softness and plasticity. These features inspired master stonemasons to sculpt both Hispanic and indigenous figures.